Veteran Guns N’ Roses rocker Axl Rose sparks a backlash following a series of late performances. NME tells Channel 4 News concert goers should expect value for money.
The band enraged fans on Wednesday night by turning up 90 minutes late and then storming off set after plastic bottles and water were thrown at them by the irritated crowd.
In a YouTube video of the gig, Axl halted the band in the middle of their second song – Welcome to the Jungle – to announce: “Here’s the deal. One more bottle and we go home. It’s up to you. We would like to stay. We want to stay. We want to have some fun.”
Just 22 minutes into their set the band stopped playing and left the stage after more projectiles arrived on the stage.
Concert organisers reportedly had to stop Axl Rose leaving the venue altogether. Promoter Denis Desmond took to the stage to ask members of the audience who were throwing bottles to refrain, in the hope the band might continue their set.
Rose and his band returned to the stage at 23.20 – nearly two and a half hours after they were scheduled to begin their set – and continued to play until 00:53 when public transport had stopped running.
Many disappointed fans had left the show earlier in the belief it was over.
Earlier this week, Axl Rose had issued a statement via Twitter defending the band’s shambolic performances at the Leeds and Reading festivals at the weekend.
Power was cut off after the band took to the Reading stage one hour late.
And at Leeds, Rose used colourful language to admonish the promoters and the police for spoiling the show, telling the crowd: ”We come here to play for you but the cops and the promoters want to **** us in the ***.”
In his Twitter statement – Rose asked: “If you are aware of our changeover time, the average length of our show and the general nature of how these types of festivals run all of which are no big secrets, why book us?
“Is it simply because the lineup on our nights at both festivals sold well? So it’s a cash grab with no respect for the fans or the band and somehow an unwanted inconvenience for the cities and law enforcement?
“If we’re not wanted and just being used to line someone else’s pockets or for fictitious tabloid fodder at the fans and our expense we’re fine with going elsewhere. God forbid we would force ourselves on anyone. It’s not that kinda party.”
Paul Stokes, associate editor for NME, told Channel 4 News that ageing stars should not expect audiences to accept their rock and role behaviour.
“Some of these festivals cost £200, individual gigs are upwards of £50 a night – if you’re going to spend that as a fan I don’t think people are prepared top sit there and go, “It’s Axel, he’s just doing his thing”, he said.
“People want value for money and people are starting to make the comparisons of going to the cinema, I could have bought a DVD. It’s a lot of money to shell out on one night and then to have a guy not turn up on time is cutting into money that you’ve paid for that time just to stand there and be bored in a field.
“The show in Dublin shows just how bad it is getting,” he said. “It was a special achievement in antagonising people.”
Fans’ reaction to events has been mixed.
On Twitter, some, like C_A_Andrews, have defended Rose: “I know Axl Rose has a problem with pathological tardiness, but no need to throw missiles at the guy!”
Others, like BarbaraCurran, have been less forgiving: “I’d love to see a class action against Axl Rose for breach of contract – I didn’t go to either of the Irish gigs as I knew he would do that.”
Axl Rose also suffered a technical glitch last month, when his Twitter account was hacked by an intruder who pretended that the band’s forthcoming European tour had been cancelled.
The trio of shambolic appearances is an inauspicious start to the Chinese Democracy tour – the next scheduled date will be Rome tomorrow night.